Pew Survey: Democrats' Faith-friendly Image Suffers, While Obama's Fares Better

A new survey shows Americans view Democrats as less religion friendly than they did one year ago.

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By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

Americans view the Democrats as less religion friendly now than they did a year ago, while President Obama's administration is seen to be warmer toward religious faith than its party is, according to a new survey from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Twenty nine percent of Americans say Democrats are friendly toward religion, compared to 38 percent who said that last year, according to the survey.

Thirty seven percent say the Obama administration is friendly toward religion, though it's unclear how that compares to previous views because Pew didn't ask the question last year.

Twenty two percent see the Dems as unfriendly toward religion, up from 15 percent last year, while a 39 percent plurality say the party is neutral toward religion. Just 12 percent of Americans say Obama is unfriendly toward religion, the same proportion that say the Republican Party is unfriendly toward religion.

Roughly half of Americans, say the GOP is friendly toward religion, while 29 percent say it's neutral.

The erosion of the Dems' hard won faith-friendly image to levels seen after the 2004 election spells trouble for the many Democratic lawmakers elected from red states and districts since 2006 in places like Indiana, Ohio, and the Carolinas. "Views of the Democrats' stance toward religion have soured sharply among groups that were already inclined to view the Democratic Party negatively, such as Republicans and white evangelical Protestants," according to the Pew analysis. "But they have also turned more negative among both independents as well as Democrats who are ideologically moderate or conservative."

Check out this chart from the survey:

http://www.usnews.com/dbimages/master/13979/pewfaithfriendly_1201gc2.gif

These numbers raise the stakes for how the Democrats handle abortion coverage in healthcare reform. If they enact legislation that's seen to support abortion with federal dollars, the Dems' faith-friendly image will probably suffer even more.

Read the Pew report here.

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